Spotify May Launch in India on January 31st with Limited Catalog

Spotify may be preparing for a late-January launch in India — with or without major label deals in place.

Several months ago, after launching in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Spotify was reportedly eyeing another part of the globe.

Frenetically making deals with major Indian rightsholders, the streaming music giant now looks ready to launch in India.

With the service set to roll out in the first quarter of 2019, Spotify announced a significant deal last week.  The streaming music giant confirmed its partnership with T-Series, a major music and film company.

T-Series boasts over 160,000 songs in its catalog.  The company also arguably has the world’s largest YouTube channel, with more than 80 million subscribers.  T-Series’ original videos have over 58 billion times.

Now, we may officially have a date for Spotify’s launch in India.

A slip-up may have confirmed the streaming music giant’s date.

An eagle-eyed user found an unexpected update to Spotify India’s terms of service.

The company had quietly added the service’s Terms and Conditions of Use would go into effect January 31st, 2019.

Image by Aroon Deep.

Following the image’s publication, Spotify has since taken the page down.

The image confirmed a recent report stating the service would launch on January 31st.  Per Variety, should the service launch at the end of this month, it may do so without important licensing deals.  Spotify apparently has yet to lock down deals with Sony, Universal, and Warner Music Group.

Instead, the company will rely on its deals with major Indian rightsholders, including T-Series.  These include commercial Hindi music, Bollywood soundtracks, and regional music in five languages – Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Bengali.  This reportedly signals Spotify has made landed deals with local record labels specializing in these languages.

In addition, the company will also reportedly host a launch party on January 31st.

Yet, Spotify faces stiff competition in India against streaming music services with Western catalogs.

Gaana boasts 75 million users in the region and owns 50% of the Indian music market.  The streaming music service also recently secured $115 million in funding from Tencent and Times Internet.

In a $1 billion+ deal, Saavn merged with JioMusic last June.  It also most recently unveiled its own combined streaming music service – JioSaavn.  Reliance Limited, the platform’s parent company, has pushed a 90-day free trial to JioSaavn Pro.  The unified streaming music service has a catalog of 45 million songs, along with over 900+ label partnerships.  This includes Sony, Universal, and Warner Music.

Other local players include Google Play, Apple Music, Amazon, Hungama, and Airtel Wynk.

To counter these recent moves, Spotify will reportedly unveil an extended free-trial period in the region.  It will also likely face an uphill battle to convert free users to subscribers.

Yet, without major deals locked down, how will Spotify India look, exactly?  Shall local users expect to find Western and other international music on the service?

 


Featured image by Pogaface (CC by 3.0).